Tag Archives: faith

When God Calls, It’s Not a Misdial

August 26, 2015

So, I took an e-hiatus for the birth of my baby girl, Calia, who entered the world in early June. She is an immense blessing and a humbling gift.

My recent transformation into momhood came with delivery trauma, breastfeeding woes, postpartum anxiety and a surge of can-never-do-enough motherly guilt. Every new mom seems socially compelled to blanketly say, “All worth it,” to avoid judgment over their humanity and a feeling of, “I’m doing this wrong if I don’t feel blissful.”

I love my daughter endlessly. In fact, I was inspired to invent our own little ILY testimony: “Do you know how much momma loves you? Around the whole wide universe and back + the space in between (opening arms to demonstrate this space and welcome her in for cuddles).” I soak in the precious coos, big baby stretches, expressive faces, simultaneous hand-feet motions and new capabilities (this week was blowing raspberries and folding hands in a prayer-like pose). I’m all in with my baby girl.

However, I would not be a truth teller if I didn’t admit that the last three months came with lots of tears, sleepless nights, painful body aches and a feeling of being adrift. I prayed a lot. Micro prayers, help me cries, gratitude shout outs, watch-over-my-sweet-baby pleas and lots of show-me-the-way requests. Those prayers showed me that, as a mom and an individual, my knees was the best place to show up.

At times, I felt like the Lord was sitting quietly in wait for me to suck it up or rise to the occasion of motherhood. I felt moments of distance from God in a time that I was sure would bring me closer to Him. I even wondered if I was just so fractured from giving birth that I was no longer worthy of hearing the Spirit. The deceiver knows how to plant doubts and foster fear in times of weakness.

The key for me was to remember that I can call on Him at all times but that does not necessarily mean I will get more than His voicemail, until He is ready to reveal Himself or His plan. What God was doing for me—although I was too exhausted to see it at the moment—was remind me that He was in charge, that my well-being needed nurturing too and that His gift of my daughter was “enough” for that period of time. He was there in her. He was there in me. He was there in my husband’s support. He was there in my friends. He was there in each new dawn. He was there when I kneeled. He was there when I broke down in tears. He was there listening and loving through it all.

As I returned to work last month, my hybrid life of new mom and bold freelancer collided into an internal conflict of where to focus and how to function. Again, I called out to the Lord, asked for clarity and direction, begged for wisdom and hoped beyond hope that I would do right by my daughter. I waited for an answer. I waited some more. I checked my spiritual inbox and felt like all I was hearing was silence. I felt depleted and uncertain how to achieve the dream I had envisioned—holding my baby as she drifted peacefully off for long naps, as I typed in a sunlit room and streamed classical music to enhance her learning slumber . . . or taking calls as I played on the floor with her, immersing her in shapes, colors, textures and smiles. Instead, my intuitive little girl stirs for every call, has food intolerances that trigger gassy distress and bats away technology with her knowing little hands. She’s smart, quirky and perfect exactly as she is. And, as God often works, she is helping me paint an entirely new reality, where I optimize my 2-5 a.m. work time, put away technology while I’m breastfeeding or playing with her, and set boundaries. This allows me to show her that momma works, momma cooks, momma talks to others . . . but, most of all, momma is there to comfort, feed and laugh when I need her.

With the threads of enlightenment slowly emerging and some small pattern in place for now, I took time to reflect on my purpose and path. My giftings (hope, wisdom, mercy and faith) were stirring in new ways, calling me out to do more. But how could I do more if I was already struggling to parent, work and sleep? Ah, but in that vulnerability, God called. I was sure for a moment that it was a wrong number, that He was pranking me or that I just imagined it. Nope. When God calls, it’s not a misdial.

Why is He calling me now? Well, that’s oddly simple. He wanted me to be at a humble place, ready for His direction. He knew I needed to truly be hungry for His guidance. He had to show me that at no time in life within this fractured world will everything move out of the way to fall comfortably into place. He had to let it sink in that Calia is His child first. He helped me to see, by calling me now, that His grace is sufficient. The Spirit is always there breathing and pushing me toward His greater purpose, not based on my calls or timeline but His.

What is He calling me to do? Well, that’s between us. But I can say that it’s not so much do as embrace. I hear the call to be a light worker, to find new ways to share hope, to help the grieving to heal and to share Spirit-driven insight. Like any good parent, He’s calling me to be still and truly listen . . . because He said so and knows best.

The Ebb and Flow of Hope

September 15, 2014

Oh, how I have missed you, friends! Somehow my life had a lot (understatement) to unfold over the last five months. During that time, I took an unplanned hiatus from the blog and much of social media. So, at the risk of being self-interested, I want to share the inspiring moments of ebb and flow since April.

Ebb
Such an intriguing concept . . . the waning of certain areas or, as I like to think of it, the pulling of life from your point of comfort into an ocean of change and challenge. In late March, I chose to set my heart free. No former attachments, no lingering what-ifs and no more seeking to find a someone. It was scary, it came with a clearing of energy, and it took all my courage to let go and give it fully to God.

Around April, I started noticing a reduction in freelance work and a shift in my network to a period of pause. That pause came with a frenzy of wrapping up projects, seeking new clients and praying the Lord would provide for my needs as bills mounted. I’m sure you know the stress and pressure of such times. Can I pay my rent in a month? What cavernous maze of steps must I take with credit cards? What am I doing wrong?

Simultaneously, several friends drifted into injury, illness, loss and trial. As I closed out the final weeks of the GriefShare class I love, I shifted immediately to be present and find the sunshine needed to bolster their spirits. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I simply didn’t realize my own candle was flickering.

Flow
To flow, to let life move as it will and to be pushed toward your greater self.

In mid-April, God richly blessed and challenged me all at once. He sent me David. Someone full of the spirit, a servant at heart and a playful personality with well-disguised redhead tendencies. On Easter, we had our first date. Imagine me sitting in the car before I walked up to the restaurant, praying to God that whatever He had in store would be my path. No expectations, no void to fill, no second guessing my outfit and nothing more than an honest glimmer of hope. David and I were instantly comfortable, immediately wrapped up in conversations that flitted from superheroes and action movies, to great books and helping others . . . even a sprinkle of goofy humor about our main courses (Chicken Bryan & Chicken Marsala, which we dubbed our double date Bryan & Marsala—at least until we scarfed them up). Yes, I scarfed on a first date. Don’t judge. He murmured on about baseball after a dizzying first kiss, so we’re even.

Fast forward (literally, it went so fast) to May when I met his kiddos (Joshua and Madelynne). Within a month of meeting, we were engaged. Crazy? Yep. Perfect? Yep. Predictable? Nope. We still stand silently and stare at each other sometimes and say, “Wow, this is real. I feel like the rollercoaster is still going.”

In June, we consolidated homes, in blessed time to combine both of our temporarily diminished finances. At the same time, I became a full-time step-mom in training. What a whirlwind of emotion, routine, questions and oops-my-bad. As David started his summer university term toward his doctorate in psychology, along with work for the Army Reserve, I set about reaching out to over three dozen job openings, clients and leads. But it wasn’t the Lord’s timing.

In July, we were married. I had spoken to the pastor once via phone, emailed the photographer, never met the hairstylist, never seen the flowers, never seen the winery in person and never met David’s family until the 24 hours before. It was like jumping out of a plane, into the ocean, looking for a star to guide you and seeing a hand reaching out. I wouldn’t change one ebb for all of the flow or one stressful moment for every priceless smile.

I humbly invite you to share our wedding day . . . the blessed culmination of surprises revealed, hope fulfilled and a new journey unleashed: View Our Video (one of the fabulous creations of the talented Tamara from Every Emotion Photography).

Also that month, I was given the opportunity to work on creative projects with a couple of brands I admire and the amazing blessing to begin building a brand with some visionary friends. It has God at its core, promoting good works to the world (can’t wait to share more in the coming months).

Every day has bumps and learnings, but my hope is wrapped in a glow of immense gratitude.

Angels and Diamonds

March 20, 2014

This post is going to pour forth, so hold on.

It’s the story of angels among us and diamonds forged through pain. The last week has taken me the full gamut of emotions, from freefalling surrender literally 13,000 feet above the earth to the depths of spiritual depletion. But this is ultimately a story of hope and gratitude.

It’s funny how life presents us mirrors to clearly see the actions of others as well as our environment, if we are present in the moment and honest with ourselves. Mirrors that shake our intuition and expose our raw desires. They may push us to pause and look around a room, to sink into our heart and ask the painfully tough questions, and to shine a revealing light on the recesses of relationships. That happened twice in the last week. Something broke through the ground I was standing on and gleamed . . . a gem of truth about what serves my soul.

Amidst this reflection, I said this on my personal Facebook page and meant it:

Beauty of friendship: unconditional love, tactful honesty, immense support, open forgiveness, belly laughter, picking up the phone and connecting like no time has passed, hugs sweeter than candy, prioritizing time, humbling oneself. No ego. No competition. No judgment. No guilt. No games. Just spiritual kinship.

It’s rare. It’s precious. It’s bright. It’s strong. It has many facets. It’s a diamond in the rough landscape of life. And when you see it, you know it’s something special. No need to keep entertaining imitations like cubic zirconia camaraderie.

Those diamonds are especially brilliant in times of trial. They are the people who will rush to your bedside, send a sweet text just because they feel you need it, assume only the best, say nice things behind your back, rush to be of assistance, pray for your well-being, and put all personal interests aside to simply offer a servant’s heart or hand.

And among those diamonds you will find angels. Angels like my dear, inspiring friend Angela. In a matter of 48 hours I experienced, witnessed and stood in awe of the power of angels. You see, this particular noble spirit was involved in a tragic car accident. In her words, “It felt like being hit by a Mac truck,” but she told us that with a smile so bright and irresistible that the entire ICU staff, all of her friends and even her surgical team marveled at her positive glow.

Angela is, indeed, a rare being. She is one of God’s great blessings to this earthly existence. I’m not trumpeting her perfection or her invincibility. No, I’m saying that her feisty, stubborn, beautiful, surprising, endearing, witty, giving, amazing soul is a stunning balance of humanity and heavenly. I love this lady so much that words have escaped me for days. Thank the Lord that she, her son and cousins survived the crash. And Jesus watch over her mother, who was called up to heaven.

When everything finally sank in Wednesday, I had nothing left. No energy, no focus, no strength. My spiritual well was depleted and I had no clue how to fill it. I tried brief physical rest but it went deeper, like a vein of ore tucked far into a mountain. I tried food to replenish my senses but I barely noticed the taste. I tried exercise, thinking I could burn off or rekindle any adrenaline in my system, but I only felt numb and dizzy. No, not even a double shot of espresso did it. So, I sat down, prayed and hoped God would invigorate my spirit.

That night, I pulled myself into GriefShare to teach class for those experiencing the loss of a loved one. I had no clue how I was going to do it . . . be present, be helpful, be a good shepherd. I did the only thing I could, I kept hoping and going through the motions. Then, something phenomenal happened. I imagined Angela’s smile, I felt the light of the Holy Spirit and I stopped trying. In that moment, I had a very real exchange with the group and saw waves of empathy rush into the space. I saw a gift of healing begin to emerge for us all.

So, recognize the diamonds of truth and friendship. And cherish the angels who grace your life. Nothing is so eternal or so valuable as those who show you the power of faith, hope and love.

faith, hope and love typography God bless my gorgeous and giving friend. I love you, Angela.

Cause I Said, So . . .

December 12, 2013

Ok, I would bet dollars to donuts (Krispy Kreme is my preference) that you remember one of your folks saying, “Because I said so.” If you are a parent, the fateful day that you say the same thing to your offspring has already come or, most likely, will creep into conversation someday. It’s ok. It happens. Of course, you know me, I have a little twist to make it better . . .

What if we leverage the spirit of the season and a little linguistic wizardry? Instead of “because” we can use “cause” and flip the meaning. It’s a three-part plan:

  1. Cause (a purpose, driving force or charitable endeavor)
  2. Said (as in tell people about it, with passion)
  3. So (implying the expectation of action)

So, dear friends, I encourage you to lift yourself and lift up others. Here are just a few precious causes that found their way to my line of sight. Each reminds me of the importance of amazing acts, finding fulfillment and the gift of grace:

  • Reece’s Rainbow – Adoption grant foundation for orphans with special needs (I dare you to read their stories and discover their tremendous gifts)
  • Compassion International – Releasing children from poverty (referred by Ann Voskamp, whom I truly love and admire)
  • Global Giving – The perfect way to find a cause, donate or inspire giving in others (there is still time to send gift cards to friends and family)

Reece's Rainbow Christmas Tree

Pick special causes or be open to them picking you. Why? Most importantly, giving is the best way to gain a sense of purpose and interpersonal connection (wards off depression, assuages loneliness, battles boredom, reinforces faith and eases grief). Also, haha, because I said so!

My Hope Flies to You

May 8, 2013

As I prepare to embark on the next chapter of this journey, I wanted to pause and share the essence of my heart in a note to each of you:

I wish you comfort and strength, wisdom and mercy. Know that hope exists. How do I know? I see each of you and feel it, electric, pulsing back and forth. You have to choose hope each day to let it take root. Sisters, love everything about yourselves and show that remarkable love to others, especially your little ones—it is through this example that we shape the hearts of the next generation. Brothers, work at what you love and what fills the well, not drains it—your talents and strength are gifts. When you find that special someone, lock shields with your person, which may mean learning to let go of expectations and trust fully. Never stop trying to rediscover the people in your life. Always hug longer, hold tighter and forgive faster. Family is our greatest education and our most lasting blessing. Should anything separate us, understand that I have no regrets. Most importantly, I don’t just believe in God . . . I know He is real and dwells within you, all you have to do is surrender to discover a peace that passes all understanding.

And to close, a prayer:

Dear Lord, thank you for your guidance and many gifts. Gracious Father, thank you for bringing so many amazing people into my life and showing me, every day, that hope is real. Please continue to bless, protect and comfort them, as you help them to grow and embody their potential. I pray for the health, happiness and well-being of each precious one. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

With hope,

Sara